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REVIEW: Supergirl 2×04 “Survivors”

Written by Dustin Molina

As we start entering the thick of this season, that is, the part of the season where we aren’t establishing Supergirl in its new network CW-form, we start to see that Supergirl maybe is a dish best served serialized.  This week’s episode, “Survivors,” showed us that we  may be past a point in time where we need our superhero/fantasy/horror to be the “monster of the week” style, and that we should fully accept a continued arc week after week.

That is not to say that this week was without its charm and intrigue as this season continues its theme of prejudice and personal change.

roulette

The main plot of this episode revolves around an underground fight club run by supervillain, Roulette (Dichen Lachman, who many know as Jiaying on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). We come upon this fight club thanks to the new dynamic duo of Alex and Maggie, hot on the case after finding an alien body with significant fight wounds. Alex and Maggie see that tonight’s main event is between M’Gann (AKA Miss Martian from last week’s big reveal) and an alien that Alex and Maggie had been in pursuit of. Alex and Maggie, however, are spotted spying on the event, and Supergirl must come in to save the day. However, Roulette has an ace up her sleeve, and unleashed super-goon, Draaga, to dispatch of Supergirl. Supergirl takes a wild beating from Draaga that is only stopped when Alex grabs a gun and saves her sister.

When J’onn J’onzz hears about his fellow Martian fighting in underground rings, he is quick to tell M’Gann how he feels about her actions. As the only other Martian around, J’onn cares about her well-being, but his overbearing pushes her away and it isn’t long before J’onn is captured by Roulette.

mgann

The climax comes as J’onn is forced to fight M’Gann in Roulette’s club. After a few heavy blows, M’Gann comes to her senses and stops the fight. Roulette disapproves and unleashes Draaga on the combatants, but luckily Supergirl, Alex, Maggie, and team are there to stop Draaga and arrest Roulette. The arrest, however, is short-lived as Maggie is told by her superiors to let Roulette go. This leaves a mystery of who may be the benefactor behind Roulette and other shady dealings across the city.

The story comes to a close as J’onn and M’Gann reconcile over the events that have transpired, but M’Gann has one more twist for the already twisted relationship the two have: she is a White Martian, the race that killed all of J’onn’s species.

As I mentioned, the plot of this episode is one that makes the viewer wanting more, but not in the best way. We are given fun action, fights, and interesting twists, but in the end, we feel that we have seen this all before. I can name at least 3-4 sci-fi/fantasy/horror shows that have utilized the “demon fight club” scenario before. Though the plot device can lead to an entertaining 60 minutes, we are left feeling that we had been snubbed this week. So what if aliens fight, we are hardly any deeper into this story than we were last week.

Luckily, Supergirl has its actors/actresses to rely on to keep each episode afloat. We grew in many relationships this week. Already mentioned was J’onn and M’Gann, but we also saw interesting updates with Mon-El and Kara, as Kara realizes her hangups with Mon-El spur from the reminder his being gives of Kara’s parents failure to save Krypton. Alex and Maggie grew closer as they become the most interesting sleuth couple of the season (filled with puns and sexual tension), only to be shot down by Maggie’s already “in a relationship” status. Even Wynn and Mon-El showed that different planetary species can be pretty good drinking buddies.

As we continue on this season, I think it’s important for Supergirl to realize that we don’t constantly need an onslaught of DC characters to be introduced because honestly, they aren’t always handled that well. Though the device of monster-of-the-week may have been fun back in the Smallville days, I feel we have grown as a superhero genre-watching people. We don’t need constant flash and sizzle, with new villains and characters popping up willy-nilly. Supergirl showed up in Season One that Kara was figuring out who she was, balancing her real life problems with the super problems. Season Two Kara has figured out who she is, hopefully now she will start dealing with those core issues head on, rather than be distracted by new villain after villain. We don’t need that much variety Supergirl, your base product is already so enticing.

Episode Grade: B-

+Maggie/Alex relationship, Wynn/Mon-El bro-ing out

+Dichen Lachman chewing all the scenery she can we the role.

-Action was pretty underwhelming despite the action-y premis

-J’onn’s immediate over-obsession with M’Gann (though somewhat understandable being the last of species after all)

How are you liking Supergirl’s sophomore season so far? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

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Dustin Molina

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